ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
Since 2007, the Youth New England Wrestling (YNEW) Championship has been the pinnacle of the youth winter wrestling season in New England. Back then, the tournament was held on one day, using partial mats, like most youth wrestling competitions of that time.
Originally, there were only two age divisions in a co-ed competition. There were no team titles and no individual awards for outstanding wrestlers. The tournament was run ‘on paper’, with bout sheets and flip charts. Nevertheless, the competition to earn the YNEW champion’s coveted hooded sweatshirt was intense.
The early years featured many talented youth wrestlers who went on to excel at the high school and collegiate levels. A close look at the list of YNEW past champions and placers reads like a who’s-who of New England wrestling stars, with many earning multiple state and New England titles in high school before moving on to stellar college careers. Visit YNEW All-Timers List to review the lists of past champs and placers, outstanding wrestlers, team title winners, and scholarship recipients.
Dozens of former YNEW competitors have wrestled for collegiate wrestling programs across the country, from college club teams to New England D-3 schools to bigtime D-1 programs in the midwest and the south. From the Big Ten to the Ivy League, from the Southern Conference to the New England Wrestling Association, numerous YNEW alumni have earned conference titles and All-American status.
In recent years, the YNEW tournament has more than doubled in size. A younger age division has been added and the tournament is held over two days to accommodate full mats for every match. There are awards for most dominant and outstanding wrestlers, as well as team titles for both town and club teams. KapWrestling uses a paperless system to manage the competition.
The host facilities have grown larger to accommodate the crowds, and the YNEW tournament has turned into a ‘mark-your-calendar’ event for elite youth wrestlers in New England. Oftentimes, wrestlers use their YNEW experience to test their mettle at other regional competitions located in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Florida.
In 2017, a scholarship program was created to support YNEW alumni who were graduating from high school and moving on to collegiate wrestling. The New England Pride Scholarships provide an opportunity for all of us to show our pride in these envoys of the New England wrestling community.
In March 2020, COVID disrupted our lives and forced the cancellation of the 14th edition of the Youth New Englands. With heavy hearts, wrestlers, coaches, and families lamented the lost opportunity to compete for a New england title. The cancellation was particularly poignant because it postponed the inaugural girl’s competition that had been added to the event. Over 100 girl wrestlers, and more than 1,000 competitors overall, were sidelined by the pandemic.
A year later, with New England still challenged by COVID, many in our wrestling community are determined to participate in YNEW 2021. This year’s tournament is scheduled for May, in order to create a safer environment for everyone involved. Many of this year’s competitors are earnestly training, including those wrestlers who are preparing for the first girls competition. All of these competitors are looking to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors and make their own history at the Youth New Englands.